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Big changes for Discovery Vitality in 2020

Focus shifts massively towards ‘health outcomes’.
In 2020, Discovery Health members who have a ‘qualifying’ Discovery Bank account won’t need to pay the monthly Vitality contribution. Image: Shutterstock

The days of doing two annual assessments and swiping your gym card to grab a smoothie once a week and then achieving Diamond status are long gone. In 2020, Discovery’s Vitality will shift its focus to aligning a member’s status to actual health outcomes.

There has been a steady and deliberate shift in this direction over the past number of years, following the launch of Active Rewards in late 2015. For a Vitality rewards status to actually mean anything when applied to Discovery’s product range – which relies on changing and incentivising healthier behaviour – it needs to be accurate. Discovery uses it, along with other data, to better price risk. This is particularly important in the Discovery Life business.

Points updates

In communication to brokers, Discovery says “points thresholds required to reach Bronze, Silver and Gold Vitality status will be lowered to encourage engagement and to align thresholds with points earning categories and health outcomes”.

Additionally, the threshold to reach Diamond has changed from simply attaining Gold status for three years in a row. This is “to align the Vitality annual engagement and long-term mortality and morbidity outcomes of a Diamond Vitality status member”.

Vitality points thresholds

Source: Discovery Vitality

The points tiering in the Vitality Health Check, which measures blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, weight assessment and a non-smoker’s declaration remains the same. Members can still earn up to 22 500 points.

Vitality Health Check points

Source: Discovery Vitality

The points awarded for an HIV test (currently 5 000) have been changed to incentivise an initial test (7 500 points, with 1 000 points for annual tests thereafter). Discovery notes that almost 50% of Vitality members are unaware of their HIV status. There are no changes to the Vitality Fitness Assessment, where up to 7 500 points can be earned.

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing becomes a personalised health goal next year. Discovery says that by 2030 “depression will be the world’s number one burden of disease”. It adds that “30% of South Africans suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime”. It also points to the “strong link” between mental health and physical health.

Members will complete “online mental wellbeing assessments across six key areas based on international guidelines”. Up to 1 000 points can be earned a year (500 every six months) for completing these.

“The outcomes of these assessments are used to give the member a clinical risk score reflecting their risk of developing depression and anxiety.” Based on the outcome of these, members will receive tailored recommendations and interventions which could include reassessments every one, three or six months.

There are also weekly “mental wellbeing goals to improve sleep and mindfulness”.

Active Rewards

With the points changes, Active Rewards becomes central to Vitality’s stated goal for 2020 of ensuring (and rewarding) “continued health engagement”. Workouts tracked with a Vitality-linked device will still earn you up to 300 points per day, depending on their duration and your average heart rate. Gym visits still earn 100 points per day, but these are now described as a “30-minute gym visit”.

From January, members will earn Discovery Miles when achieving their weekly Active Rewards goals. “Members instantly earn 100 Discovery Miles for each goal they achieve” (exercise, drive and money). Members still earn a weekly play on the gameboard for every goal they achieve. The gameboard tiles will reveal various numbers of Discovery Miles.

Achieving all three goals will earn a bonus play on the gameboard (meaning a total of four).

New rewards partners

Discovery says “members can spend Discovery Miles immediately through the Active Rewards partners or save them for up to five years for even higher value rewards.”

From next year, Netflix, (DStv) Box Office, Cotton On, Sportsmans Warehouse, Typo, Exclusive Books, Makro and Uber (among others) will join existing partners including Nando’s, Kauai, Nü Health Food Café, Mugg & Bean, Woolworths, Pick n Pay, iStore, Sunglass Hut, Yuppiechef, Dis-Chem and Kulula.

Source: Discovery Vitality

Integration with bank

As expected, Discovery will push its new bank proposition heavily. Not only are there the new weekly money goals that form part of Active Rewards, it will increasingly incentivise those who have a bank account. For example, only those who have a qualifying bank account are able to convert their Discovery Miles to cash.

Read: Slow start for Discovery Bank

Also, “from 1 October 2019, new gym booster activations will require Vitality members to have a qualifying Discovery Bank account”.

“Vitality members that have previously activated the gym booster benefit will continue to get up to 100% off their gym membership, with the boosted portion paid in Discovery Miles early next year.”

This change means the members can boost their discount to 100% from the up to 75% discount they are able to receive. This (additional) boosted ‘rebate’ will then be paid back in miles.

There’s also the newly launched 2020 Discovery Integrator, which will incentivise clients for holding both Discovery Health membership and a (“qualifying”) Discovery Bank account by removing the need for them to pay a monthly Vitality contribution.

Read: Discovery Health’s 2020 medical aid increases

By activating the free Vitality Health Tracker, linking a bank account, completing a Vitality Health Check and completing personalised health checks, members can earn up to 5000 Discovery Miles. This value, it says, “is equivalent to an effective reduction of 1% of the average medical scheme contribution in 2020”.

Monthly contributions for (full) Vitality are up by 8% to 10%. Prices for Vitality Active “designed to make healthy living more accessible” are up by a significantly higher amount.

Monthly fee increases





Vitality member




Vitality member + 1




Vitality member + 2




Vitality Active (under 30)




Vitality Active (over 30)



Hilton Tarrant works at YFM. He can still be contacted at

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As confusing as their medical schemes. Assume I do not belong to a gym..I cycle and use Strava for 12 months and I go for regular check-ups paid for by myself… What is the benefit ?

I wonder how much these Vitality partners fork out to be listed as partners on Vitality? With access to virtually every bit of data of their members it is very easy for Discovery to move the goal posts without impacting their bottom-line. Vitality will become more stick and less carrot as time goes by.

if i join our local card play club, will it have any affect on my monthly medical aid contributions to discovery? – the actual question is:”are the medical aids really very much concern about the medical aid assistance that they are suppose to provide – their suppose to be core business / target?”(where profit making is not the main aim of a medical aid but where cross funding is meant to support all its members – the healthier and the not so healthy members) or is the marketing tactic now: look at my smart watch counting my long walk steps to an healthier life and later on an exhausted me will get my uber ride at 50% discount back home – something does not tie up with its core business.

Vitality is not part of the medical aid. It’s a separate company with its own registration number. If their offerings don’t interest you, don’t pay to join them.

@Wendy……thats not the problem, and you failing to grasp the matter at hand

What ‘Johannes’ is trying to convey,albeit not so eloquently, is that Vitality, which forms an integral part of Discovery’s medical aid, has not only lost focus on its core obligation, but now suckering consumers into ever more elaborate ‘smoothie pyramid schemes’, which is collapsing under its own weight of complexity – and always to the detriment of the customer as the rules and layers change at will

In a nutshell, this moving target is not worth it anymore

Left Discovery 3 years ago and have no regrets. Was a “diamond” member for 4 years but they made so many changes each year it was difficult to keep up… Looks like they are “adjusting” the rules every year in order to reduce their diamond and gold vitality members which means more profits for Mr. Gore and his “shareholders”…


Still with Discovery, but no longer on Diamond. Unfortunately, nowadays it looks as though you need to be a major athlete in perfect health with enough money for fancy watches and stuff.

I am still with Vitality as a pre-2010 gym member who has no extra subs so long as I meet the requirements in terms of number of visits. If they take that away I would probably leave as I wouldn’t get enough food discounts to make the membership fee worthwhile.

The Discovery Vitality business model: Make the rules as complex as possible. Change them constantly. Increase the requirements for achieving any level exponentially and annually. Or more often, if any members seem able to achieve them. Rinse and repeat.
Permanently booted these clowns years ago

@Darwin….100% agreed

Did the same after I saw through the smokescreen

Ah….saw this coming

Watch Discovery start strong-arming their Vitality members into using their new bank to try kick start it into life

They already are……

This is further evidence of Discovery slowly starting to drown in their own complicated red tape quagmire, as they take their remaining exasperated customers down with them in this sinking ship

Time to start shorting these shares ?

Ooh wait – they just sent me a free smoothie !!

Wow…hallelujah…everything is ok my bunnies

Mr Gore qualified as an actuary and now anyone attempting get a decent deal out of a medical aid like Discovery or a cell phone contract needs to be one also.

I dropped this Vitality shyte when one year they (illegally) converted my unused Medical savings (my own money), into their useless Vitality points.

Pretty soon there will be negative points for using the NHI.

Hopefully my daughter has her own medical aid soon then I can resign from this “family plan”.

I prefer Momentum’s Multiply. Easy to understand, realistic goals, real benefits.

@Hilton – your comment:

“This is a big change, meaning members will pay the full premium for the gym contract, with the ‘rebate’ being paid back in miles.”

This is incorrect. The GYM BOOSTER increases the garden variety 75% VA discount by an additional 25% to give you an effective 100% discount on gym fees if you belong to one club. This extra discount currentlty comes to you in the form of cash. The EXTRA discount will now be paid back in Disco Miles, instead of cash.

You still get the normal 75% discount if you keep your visits above 36 in a rolling 12 months, and you don’t have to pay the “full gym fee”. It’s JUST the Gym Booster Benefit which is changing.

Problem is miles != rands. This is like the change they did to the weekly rewards from actualized vouchers (which cost money) to points (now miles) which costs nothing till it’s claimed back in the form of a purchase.

If you ask me, I have to wonder wonder when we will see inflation on miles

I always wonder about the cost of their soap-opera ads, must be a fortune.

Discovery members are guinea pigs. I mean they literally know everything about you. Your health, finances, how you drive, where you at – just for you to earn a smoothie come end of the week or month

@Daniel84…..agreed !

This covert trend is now termed ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ [ Facebook/Google etc also guilty of employing the same tactics ]

Discovery is leader of the pack here in SA

People are willing to trade their freedoms for an app…or a smoothie as you say, just to become governed commodities …….

Never understood that !

…and that besides, they cross-susidise their bank with a racial bias?

The last time I checked, Vitality was a voluntary part of Discovery. What they are trying to do is stop the turnstile gym scammers from earning point for doing nothing. If you are not serious about your health, stay away from Vitality.

If you are serious about your health, stay away from Vitality. And sommer Discovery too.

There, fixed it for you.

It’s a scam really. Used to be really simple, train x amount a week and get a smoothie.

Now you train x amount a week and they have thrown in a gambling element with a very high probability that you have to achieve your goal for 2 weeks to get a smoothie. Plus a bunch of other nonsense.

Personally don’t even look at my vitality statue anymore, could not be bothered and planning to switch medical aids at the end of the year.

one of their ‘pushers’ ie consultants,told to leave Vit as it’s like a husk with little substance.With their obsessive micro-managing of clients’ lives, I wonder what security there is for clients around the sensitive medical data that they own? Do they share it with their insurance, and now, banking component or anyone else? What role will PoPI have as watchdog in this?

End of comments.





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